(BLOOMINGTON) - The parents of a 4-year-old found wandering alone March 27 on South Walnut Street now face more serious charges, including aggravated battery of their 3-month-old son.
Aaron Maples, 22, and Samanthia Priest, 21, were arrested Thursday after a doctor found multiple injuries on their son and alerted Child Protective Services and the Bloomington Police Department.
Maples and Priest took their son to a doctor for a fractured leg Thursday, BPD Lt. Bill Parker said. The parents told the doctor their son had gotten his leg caught in one of the slats on his crib, injuring himself.
The doctor did not believe them, and Priest later told police she and Maples had concocted the story. The doctor found serious injuries on the child, Parker said, and alerted police.
The child was taken to IU-Health Bloomington Hospital, where medical staff discovered the baby had a fractured tibia, the shinbone; two skull fractures; three broken ribs and multiple fractures on both legs.
Police arrested Priest and Maples, and Priest admitted she had witnessed multiple instances of abuse by Maples. When presented with Priest's confession, Maples also admitted to the crimes.
Parker said police aren't sure when the abuse began, but police observed the three-month-old while investigating the neglect of the child's older sibling one week ago and didn't see visible injuries. However, Parker said medical staff indicated the abuse could be long-term but became more severe recently.
Priest described several abusive episodes to police, Parker said. She told police Maples had, on multiple occasions, picked up the child by his legs and swung him, tied his legs together with a blanket twisted to resemble a rope, thrown him into his crib, swung him by his arms and kicked and shook the child's car seat. She also said Maples sometimes held a pillow over the child's face.
Maples said this was often an attempt to stop the child's crying.
Priest told police one instance in which her son had been buckled into his car seat, which she'd placed on the floor of their apartment in preparation to leave. The baby had been crying, so Maples had kicked the car seat, knocking it on its side and jostling the baby.
Maples told police multiple times he has anger problems, Parker said.
Parker said the descriptions of abuse were consistent with the observed injuries.
Priest told police she was afraid of Maples, which is why she didn't report the abuse. She also told police she didn't want to see Maples in trouble.
Maples and Priest were arrested and remain in Monroe County Jail. Maples faces charges of aggravated battery and neglect of dependent, and Priest faces charges of assisting a criminal and neglect of dependent.
The 3-month-old child is still at IU-Health Bloomington Hospital. Parker said both children have been removed by CPS and will be placed by the agency.
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